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The people-smuggling business is a multi billion-dollar industry in Guatemala and Mexico. The smugglers, also known as coyotes, are paid to take migrants on a journey from Guatemala, through Mexico, and into the United States. Illegally.
One man, named Hugo, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about his work as a coyote, a job he's been doing for 11 years. But he said the job has recently become too challenging, thanks to President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.
“It’s just too hard to do the job right now,” Hugo said, adding he hasn't been able to do his work in weeks.
Before the recent focus on migrants, he said he would make about two trips each month, taking up to 30 migrants each time. Each trip took about eight days to complete.
“The Mexicans put the National Guard on the roads, and those guys love their country,” said Hugo. “It’s not like the immigration guys, you can buy them for some pesos. But you can’t buy the National Guard.”
It costs about $1,800 per person to cross the border with a coyote like Hugo. However he offers no discount for children.
“The child is the treasure,” Hugo said. “It’s not the adult who takes the child, it’s the other way around: The child takes the adult.”
Hugo said that while the pressure on immigration is tough right now, he believes the border crossing will pick up again soon.
“For now, people are waiting to see what happens,” Hugo said. “But eventually they won’t be able to wait anymore, and they will have to go.”
Read the full story on the Los Angeles Times.